Leibee: College students need to care about the Green New Deal

Katrina Leibee

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

We’re on a deadline of 12 years to save our planet from ourselves. It’s easy to ignore political issues, claiming if we don’t vote, speak up or talk about them, they likely won’t affect us. They seem complicated and out of reach, but the issue of climate change is one that is affecting us all right now.

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We do have a solution that is beneficial to working young people such as ourselves: the Green New Deal. The problem, however, is that most of us don’t know or care about it, and it is a radical idea. It gets complicated with political jargon, and most young people are too busy to understand the politics behind it. It affects us though, so let’s break it down.

The three biggest things we need to know about the GND are that it is modeled after The New Deal from the 1930s, the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it calls for an investment in sustainable resources, rather than fossil fuels.

We’ve had the evidence that climate change is real for a long time. The truth is that politicians know it’s happening, but to acknowledge it would mean solving the problem, stopping the production of oil and gas that makes them and large corporations a lot of money. So, instead, they say they just “don’t believe in it.”

Politicians and America’s leading oil and gas company, Exxon Mobil, are aware that the burning of fossil fuels is detrimental to the environment, so they attempt to create doubt in climate change.

  • The Green New Deal is modeled after The New Deal from the 1930s

  • The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

  • It calls for an investment in transitioning to more sustainable resources rather than fossil fuels

The time for blissful ignorance is over. Twenty-nine-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explained in a video how we got to the point of what looks like no return. Colorado’s own Rep. Joe Neguse was part of the team that introduced the GND, meaning Colorado is on the forefront of this.

One factor stopping politicians in office from getting on board with the GND is the social agenda within it. The GND calls for more economic equality in marginalized communities and a creation of jobs outside of the fossil fuel industry. Controversy over this comes from its economic and social requests, as some have called it a “progressive wishlist.” 

Critics of the GND say it will take away jobs from the American people in the oil, gas and coal industries. Yet, the GND actually plans to create jobs in more sustainable areas that are healthy for the environment.

This deal matters to us no matter our political and social beliefs. Currently, no one has offered an alternative solution that is as brave and demanding as the GND. If we are on a 12-year deadline, we need brave and demanding change now more than ever before. There is no time to wait for a conservative approach that takes baby steps towards the necessary change.

Imagine this issue on a small scale, such as our own college campus. Say an economic crisis faced our school and we were told we only had one year to fix it. We wouldn’t be slowly attempting to solve the problem one penny at a time. We would insist on dramatic action. We would start campaigns, host fundraisers and elect people to offices that are brave enough to make radical changes we’ve never seen before. 

That is what is going on with our Earth and our society right now. We have survived threats to our lives and our country before. We did it in The Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented public works programs and projects that got us out. Those ideas were considered radical and dramatic at the time. 

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“There is no time to wait for a conservative approach that takes baby steps towards the change necessary.”

As college students, we should care about this deal if we plan on living through the next decade. This issue is not out of our hands as long as we can vote and as long as we can speak. Political candidates in Colorado such as Mike Johnston, who is running for Colorado Senate, wants to know what we think. Anyone can go online right now and voice their opinion on it.

If the GND doesn’t seem to be the right solution, then we should be working immediately to find an alternate one that calls for action now. This is our future we’re talking about, and it is time to start fighting for it. 

Katrina Leibee can be reached at letters@collegian.com or Twitter @KatrinaLeibee.